Author Topic: Episode #588  (Read 3050 times)

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Offline AtheistApotheosis

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Re: Episode #588
« Reply #30 on: October 19, 2016, 10:18:26 AM »
I feel like Cara didn't get the point of the aging thing.

Steve was saying that absent any other reason for dying, the human body will give out at about age 115. But Cara kept bringing up all these reasons for dying. I felt like saying "Yes, but without those. Assume that we can cure every disease. People will reach 115 completely disease- and cancer-free, and they will still die because that's when the cells just stop working properly."
Your cells don't self destruct spontaneously when you reach 115 or nobody would live beyond 115 at all. Your cell replacement rate decreases gradually over time, but doesn't drop much below parity until death. Error rates increase over time, but you not going to die as a direct result of it. Nobody has ever died of old age because no one has ever lived long enough for these things to actually kill them, they only die of age related diseases. which Cara was pointing out, the other reasons for dying that Steve mentioned. Falling from a great height isn't what will kill you, it's the ground. If you eliminated all age related diseases you might reach a little over 300 years but their wouldn't be much left of you. Your cells would probably have run out of telomeres by then, your muscles would have atrophied completely away and your brain would be working fine but disconnected from the outside world. Fact is you can't die of a broken heart, or because you have lost the will to live, you can't die of fright or embarrassment or old age. You can only die from disease, accident, murder or predator.

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #588
« Reply #31 on: October 19, 2016, 12:46:42 PM »
I feel like Cara didn't get the point of the aging thing.

Steve was saying that absent any other reason for dying, the human body will give out at about age 115. But Cara kept bringing up all these reasons for dying. I felt like saying "Yes, but without those. Assume that we can cure every disease. People will reach 115 completely disease- and cancer-free, and they will still die because that's when the cells just stop working properly."
Your cells don't self destruct spontaneously when you reach 115 or nobody would live beyond 115 at all. Your cell replacement rate decreases gradually over time, but doesn't drop much below parity until death. Error rates increase over time, but you not going to die as a direct result of it. Nobody has ever died of old age because no one has ever lived long enough for these things to actually kill them, they only die of age related diseases. which Cara was pointing out, the other reasons for dying that Steve mentioned. Falling from a great height isn't what will kill you, it's the ground. If you eliminated all age related diseases you might reach a little over 300 years but their wouldn't be much left of you. Your cells would probably have run out of telomeres by then, your muscles would have atrophied completely away and your brain would be working fine but disconnected from the outside world. Fact is you can't die of a broken heart, or because you have lost the will to live, you can't die of fright or embarrassment or old age. You can only die from disease, accident, murder or predator.

I think the point made was that, no, eliminating disease would not get you to 300. Sometime right around 115, more often sooner, your body can no longer function well enough to keep you alive.

Note that on average, your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. At 220 years of age your maximum heart rate would be zero. But long before that, your heart and your other organs drop below the threshold needed to perform their function adequately to maintain the processes of life. Each of your organs has a job to do. If your liver cannot adequately remove toxins, if your kidneys cannot adequately remove the byproducts of metabolism, if your heart cannot pump enough blood to get oxygen to your cells, if your thyroid and other hormone glands cannot produce enough of their respective hormones, you will die.

And the study showed that all this happens, at the very latest, around the age of 115.
Daniel
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Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Episode #588
« Reply #32 on: October 19, 2016, 12:57:28 PM »
I think the place where it's unclear is that there has to be a specific, particular reason for each individual case where something stops working.  Like, at a bio-mechanical level.  And in effect, how is one sort of "this cell/tissue/organ doesn't do it's job any more" inherently different from another?

"Kidneys cannot adequately remove the byproducts of metabolism":  how?  What's the mechanism whereby the function has declined?  Is it fewer cells (if so what killed them off/prevented their replacement)?  Is it cells working less effectively (if so what part of their biomechanics has malfunctioned, and how)?  "They are just old and don't work as well" isn't a HOW, it's a WHY.
Big Mike
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #588
« Reply #33 on: October 19, 2016, 02:45:14 PM »
I think the place where it's unclear is that there has to be a specific, particular reason for each individual case where something stops working.  Like, at a bio-mechanical level.  And in effect, how is one sort of "this cell/tissue/organ doesn't do it's job any more" inherently different from another?

"Kidneys cannot adequately remove the byproducts of metabolism":  how?  What's the mechanism whereby the function has declined?  Is it fewer cells (if so what killed them off/prevented their replacement)?  Is it cells working less effectively (if so what part of their biomechanics has malfunctioned, and how)?  "They are just old and don't work as well" isn't a HOW, it's a WHY.

Agreed. There is always a reason. But that reason need not be a disease. It can be that the slow deterioration of function leaves the organ not producing replacement cells fast enough, or the cells no longer produce the needed quantity of a hormone, or the heart muscle is no longer strong enough to pump a sufficient quantity of blood.

The reason is not necessarily a disease or illness. It can be just a gradual weakening with age.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline lonely moa

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Re: Episode #588
« Reply #34 on: October 19, 2016, 03:13:58 PM »
Industrialised humans will have to do something about osteoporosis and sarcopenia and dementia... like lifting heavy things, and eating less acellular carbohydrate if we want to be healthier in our dotage.
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Offline Pusher Robot

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Re: Episode #588
« Reply #35 on: October 19, 2016, 04:27:56 PM »
I think the place where it's unclear is that there has to be a specific, particular reason for each individual case where something stops working.  Like, at a bio-mechanical level.  And in effect, how is one sort of "this cell/tissue/organ doesn't do it's job any more" inherently different from another?

"Kidneys cannot adequately remove the byproducts of metabolism":  how?  What's the mechanism whereby the function has declined?  Is it fewer cells (if so what killed them off/prevented their replacement)?  Is it cells working less effectively (if so what part of their biomechanics has malfunctioned, and how)?  "They are just old and don't work as well" isn't a HOW, it's a WHY.

Agreed. There is always a reason. But that reason need not be a disease. It can be that the slow deterioration of function leaves the organ not producing replacement cells fast enough, or the cells no longer produce the needed quantity of a hormone, or the heart muscle is no longer strong enough to pump a sufficient quantity of blood.

The reason is not necessarily a disease or illness. It can be just a gradual weakening with age.

Is there a difference beyond simple semantics?  Suppose we just define aging as a disease?
A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.
Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: “You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong.”
Knight turned the machine off and on.
The machine worked.

Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Episode #588
« Reply #36 on: October 19, 2016, 04:35:34 PM »
That's sort of where I'm trying to go.

A kidney (or an individual kidney cell) can slow down its function for the following list of reasons: {insert list}.  All of these except one we are going to define as being caused by "disease".

Basically, it's all still WHY and not HOW.  Like, maybe DNA gets corrupted over time or after lots of replications and starts making shittier and shittier cells as time goes by - that's a hypothetical HOW that could explain things.  There are surely other HOW explanations that are far beyond the scope of understanding of this poor engineer.  But "they don't work so good anymore" isn't a HOW.  It's an effect, not a cause.
Big Mike
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #588
« Reply #37 on: October 19, 2016, 05:15:02 PM »
If you define aging as a disease, then what is meant by "curing all diseases"? You'd have to say that curing all disease means stopping the aging process itself.

We know how to cure infectious diseases, in theory if not in every case. We know that if we can remove arterial plaque we've cured coronary artery disease. We can say that we'd cure cancer if we can stop tumors from growing and metastasizing. But what's meant by "curing aging"?

I submit that we can legitimately speak of curing disease, but we cannot speak of "curing aging," and therefore the notion of curing all diseases is meaningless if we classify aging itself as a disease.

Another approach: Aging is a normal process. If a baby never ages it will never become an adult. Diseases strike different people at different times and with somewhat different results. Not everyone gets sick. Not everyone exposed to the flu comes down with it. But everyone ages. Disease is an abnormal process. Aging is a normal process.

The only way to extend lifespan much beyond 115 is to learn the cause(s) of aging (a normal process) and slow or stop it. This is categorically and qualitatively different than curing or treating any known disease.
Daniel
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Offline Pusher Robot

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Re: Episode #588
« Reply #38 on: October 19, 2016, 06:58:01 PM »
If you define aging as a disease, then what is meant by "curing all diseases"? You'd have to say that curing all disease means stopping the aging process itself.

We know how to cure infectious diseases, in theory if not in every case. We know that if we can remove arterial plaque we've cured coronary artery disease. We can say that we'd cure cancer if we can stop tumors from growing and metastasizing. But what's meant by "curing aging"?

Stopping or reversing the degenerative processes that we term "aging."

Quote
I submit that we can legitimately speak of curing disease, but we cannot speak of "curing aging," and therefore the notion of curing all diseases is meaningless if we classify aging itself as a disease.

Why not?  There is nothing magical about the degenerative processes associated with aging. What makes them any more impossible to treat than cancer or heart disease?

Quote
Another approach: Aging is a normal process. If a baby never ages it will never become an adult. Diseases strike different people at different times and with somewhat different results. Not everyone gets sick. Not everyone exposed to the flu comes down with it. But everyone ages. Disease is an abnormal process. Aging is a normal process.

Development and maturation is a necessary part of the human life-cycle, but it's not obvious why degenerative aging would be.  True, you can distinguish aging from other diseases in that it is a universal affliction, but the same would be possible of many of what we would call genetic diseases, if those genes ever came to be shared by 100% of the population.

Quote
The only way to extend lifespan much beyond 115 is to learn the cause(s) of aging (a normal process) and slow or stop it. This is categorically and qualitatively different than curing or treating any known disease.

I don't see how it's categorically different.  There are plenty of other diseases that we treat or try to treat that are a result of genetic or biological malfunction, which is essentially what degenerative aging is.
A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.
Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: “You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong.”
Knight turned the machine off and on.
The machine worked.

Offline lonely moa

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Re: Episode #588
« Reply #39 on: October 19, 2016, 06:58:57 PM »
More to the point of a good diet; consider obesity and weight gain in adulthood and telomere length.  Telomeres are highly associated with ageing.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805851/

Not a "balanced diet" (whatever the fuck that's supposed to be), but an optimal diet. 
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Online arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #588
« Reply #40 on: October 20, 2016, 04:01:18 AM »
Your cells don't self destruct spontaneously when you reach 115 or nobody would live beyond 115 at all.

No-one - not Steve, not Cara, and not I - was arguing that there is a hard cut-off at that age. I said about 115.

Offline Zec

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Re: Episode #588
« Reply #41 on: October 22, 2016, 01:38:47 PM »
"Arafat received the Nobel prize just for not being a terrorist anymore"?!?!
Oh my god ,how superficial from Steve!
Arafat was awarded together with with Simon Peres and Isaac Rabin after the Oslo treaty.
It was the most serious attempt to bring peace to that extremely troubled part of the world
And it was totally worth a Nobel prize in my opinion.
Isaac Rabin was then killed by Israeli extremists (terrorist?) because of it.
It is quite likely that Arafat was killed as well.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasser_Arafat

About longevity: is it really desirable to live to an extremely old age? Personally I don't think so. Very interesting philosophical problem. Discuss?
« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 03:11:47 PM by Zec »

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #588
« Reply #42 on: October 22, 2016, 03:12:35 PM »
... About longevity: is it really desirable to live to an extremely old age? Personally I don't think so. Very interesting philosophical problem. Discuss?

We each get only one life. It can be shit or it can be fun, or it can be in between. When it's fun, it's definitely desirable to extend it. The problem is that the older we get the harder it is to have fun. The body breaks down and you can no longer do the stuff you enjoy.

I want to live for as long as I can hike in the mountains and kayak warm flat water. Once I can no longer do those things, I don't want to live any more. Thus the old age of Jonathan Swift's Lilliputians would be hell, while the old age of the super-rich of Jupiter Ascending would be extremely desirable.

When you ask about the desirability of living a long life, you need to specify which kind of life. Both of the above kinds are probably impossible, so it's all fantasy. Does anybody want to live in a hellish dystopian fantasy? Probably not. Would people like to live in a utopian paradise fantasy? Definitely yes.
Daniel
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Offline Marc in NA

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Re: Episode #588: discussion on aging and what do we mean by the "self"
« Reply #43 on: October 23, 2016, 01:03:35 AM »
I thought the discussion about Vijg et al. study on aging was interesting, but I don’t think the panel really delved into what it means that life expectancy (probability that at any given age you will live longer) has increased but life span (total length of one’s life) doesn’t. Kara was arguing that the limit on life span may be due to things like cancer. But wasn't this what the article was arguing against? We can imagine two models: (1) life span is the result of the combined probabilities that you will get sick at some time, (2) life span is determined by some intrinsic process that is independent of this. By the first model, you would expect that as we get better at treating disease that both life expectancy and life span would increase. By model two, you would expect that no matter how good we get at treating disease, this will only increase life expectancy and not life span. Kara’s example of cancer would fall into the first model. She may be right that there is an inherent relationship between cancer and the mechanisms of aging, but simply treating cancer itself would not increase life span -- just life expectancy. As the panel discussed, extending life span would involve going beyond treating “disease” (or redefining the word) and altering the underlying normal processes by which cells age.

Another point that caught my attention was Steve’s argument that it would be hard to renew the brain without causing a change in one’s “self”, and that this imposed a limitation. But I wonder? Don’t our brains continuously change throughout our life span and doesn’t our “self” constantly change with it? What exactly would be lost if we start replacing our current neurons with new ones? Kind of comes down to how we define our “self”. I would argue that whatever continuity we experience is probably an illusion – we have memories, most of which are probably reconstructed, and we have patterns of behavior that constantly change. As long as we maintain an internal dialog and maintain the illusion of a continuous “self” we may be fine. We will change, but I will still be “me” – because that is how it works in real life. It would just have to be gradual. Can you imagine what you would think if one day you were your 20 year-old self and the next day you were your 60 year-old self. You would be in shock at how much you had changed. But if you do it slowly, and it is simply called “life”.

 

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